Faced with howls of protest, Mayor Ray Nagin apologized January 17 for claiming that a vengeful God smote New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina because of heavenly disapproval of America’s involvement in Iraq and of rampant violence within urban black communities.
The Vatican’s chief ambassador to Israel has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the church’s top ambassador to Washington and the U.S. church.
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, a 67-year-old Italian and a veteran diplomat, will succeed Gabriel Montalvo as the papal nuncio, or ambassador of the Holy See. Montalvo has held the post since 1998 and retired when he reached age 75.
More Americans requested emergency food and shelter in U.S. cities last year than the year before, according to a national survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Some service providers were forced to turn clients away, and officials fear that caring for relocated hurricane victims could further inundate urban agencies in 2006.
Elvis Presley shook hands with Richard Nixon in 1970, but it wasn’t much more than a fleeting photo op. When Bono got together with President Bush for lunch at the White House in October, however, they spoke for nearly two hours about debt relief, AIDS and other issues.
Advocacy groups say plans of cable television companies to offer family-friendly programming packages are flawed and designed to thwart consumers from getting what they really want: à la carte sales, in which subscribers pick and choose their channels.
Only days after the high-profile intelligent-design trial ended in the fall, Federal Judge John E. Jones III, relaxing in his chambers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, promised to weigh the evidence and “rule as I see fit.”
The soaring cost of keeping the sanctuary warm this winter has congregations fretting.
“People are very worried,” said consultant Andrew Rudin, who’s been advising houses of worship on energy conservation for 30 years. “We’ve never had so much business.” Rudin, of Philadelphia’s Interfaith Coalition on Energy, consults with congregations in Philadelphia and beyond on energy costs.
The outpouring of private charity to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina and two sister storms now ranks as the most generous in American history, surpassing donations after September 11, according to researchers who track philanthropy.
It is said that death waits for no one and makes no appointments. That was the case for the 1,000 people killed by Hurricane Katrina, the 70,000 dead in the Pakistan earthquake, and the 181,000 lives claimed by the Asian tsunami that hit in late 2004, overshadowing the dawn of 2005.
About this time last year, Manuel Zamorano was making his list, checking it twice, and Macy’s department stores came up naughty, not nice. This year, the Folsom, California, grandfather is singing a different tune, something more like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
When Joe Yokum considered a call to the Catholic priesthood five years ago, the first thing a seminary official asked him was not his understanding of the Trinity or of salvation, or even why he wanted to be a priest.
In a Vatican visit by a top U.S. Lutheran bishop, Pope Benedict XVI praised dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics but called on both groups to ignore neither their doctrinal differences nor “a general climate of uncertainty” about truths today.
Facing mounting discrimination since the September 11 terrorist attacks, a number of Sikh-American groups have begun a campaign to explain their religion to the American public and to differentiate their beliefs from those of Muslims.
Republican congressman Tom DeLay of Texas, indicted by a grand jury in his home state and bounced from his leadership position in Congress, has another distraction: interfaith groups are pressuring him to drop his opposition to Food and Drug Administration oversight of cigarette sales, which health experts say could save thousands of American lives.
Nearly half of the 38 primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion have rebuked the archbishop of Canterbury for not condemning the liberal attitude toward homosexuality shown by Anglican churches in North America. Of particular concern is the 2003 election and consecration of openly gay Episcopal Bishop V.
Religious conservatives lost electoral fights to pass an abortion law in California, overturn gay-rights legislation in Maine and defeat a bond issue in Ohio that critics said could fund embryonic stem cell research. However, the right claimed victory in Texas as voters overwhelmingly approved a measure November 8 bolstering the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.